Content By Quality Digest

John Hayes’s picture

By: John Hayes

Read any article on automated warehouse vehicles, and it’s pretty easy to see there is a lot of hype. Although automation in automated guided vehicles (AGVs) and autonomous mobile robots (AMRs)—my specialty—have come a long way, they are not replacing all warehouse workers.

In an interview with editor in chief Dirk Dusharme, host of Quality Digest’s QDL, the conversation extended beyond the automation hype and into how automation and various technologies like AGVs impact workers. Companies that manufacture these increasingly sophisticated equipment must consider the social impacts.

AGVs are getting smarter

AGV technology has advanced since the 1950s. The state of the art is being pushed by sensor technology, such that today’s vehicles do more than simply follow a line on the floor. Technology has advanced to a point where rigid infrastructure is no longer needed to tell the vehicle where it is or understand how to get from point to point. That has advanced, and it continues to advance.

Experience the benefits of closed-loop quality for best-in-class products

Best-in-class products stem from a closed-loop quality solution that enables continuous improvement throughout the entire organization. Manufacturers must be able to meet quality standards, identify possible risks and failures, and mitigate them from the early stages of the product lifecycle. This video explains how manufacturers can synchronize product development, quality planning, and continuous improvement processes and maximize the value of change management.

Siemens 9-27-21 F Video Banner

Siemens 9-27-21 F Video Banner

The switch to hybrid work

Up to 50 percent of employees say they would quit if they can't work remotely. But how prepared are employees and employers to make a permanent switch to hybrid work? Joining us today is Mike Morini CEO of WorkForce Software.  

Related Article: "What Employers Need to Give Their Remote Employees"

Jay Arthur—The KnowWare Man’s picture

By: Jay Arthur—The KnowWare Man

There are many control chart rules to detect special causes (i.e., out-of-control conditions). Although most of these rules are clear, the one that seems to befuddle most people is the rule about trends. Is it six points (including the first point), six points (excluding the first point), or seven points including the first point? Confusing, isn’t it? The goal of this article is to identify the usable answer to this question. But first, it might be interesting to take a look at the various rules proposed over the years.

Western Electric

The original Western Electric rules1 did not include a trend rule. These four rules compare a series of points in the data set to zones created by the 1, 2,  and 3 sigma lines.

Lauren Dunford’s picture

By: Lauren Dunford

Manufacturing is stepping up investment as the U.S. economy recovers from the challenges of 2020. Nearly 40 percent of manufacturers have increased CapEx spending, with less than 7 percent planning to spend less, the National Association of Manufacturers reports.

With that investment, factories have substantial room to reduce waste and improve profitability. In many plants the key efficiency metric, overall equipment effectiveness (OEE), stands at just 60 percent—meaning 40 percent of potential production capability is lost. In contrast, state-of-the-art factories regularly achieve 85 percent OEE.

Getting to real-time insight

Digital tools can be an important lever to help factories and entire manufacturing ecosystems dramatically reduce waste. As a foundation, most digital technologies start by providing real-time insight into what’s going on, what’s going wrong, and why. With that information, operators can act more quickly to fix issues as they occur and even prevent problems.

Quality Digest’s picture

By: Quality Digest

(ShopFloorConnect: Acton, MA) – ShopFloorConnect will unveil new capabilities in preventive maintenance at PackExpo in Las Vegas, Sept. 27–29, 2021, that further improve machine productivity with maintenance alerts based on actual machine run times or cycles.

The production monitoring software’s new feature improves on traditional preventive maintenance software that typically send alerts for specified maintenance activities based on days. With ShopFloorConnect the software detects when machines are running and not running and when they complete cycles, enabling preventive maintenance alerts to be scheduled based on actual use of the machine and its component parts rather than on a number of days.

Matt Mong’s picture

By: Matt Mong

During a recent interview with Dirk Dusharme, host of Quality Digest’s QDL, we discussed project-based manufacturing, the umbrella term that covers the types of manufacturing done on a project-driven schedule. Some refer to this as “engineer to order” (ETO), a niche in engineering-focused manufacturing.

As repetitive high-volume manufacturing has been offshored to China, Vietnam, and other locations, many U.S. manufacturers have moved toward mass customization (sometimes called “made to order”) for the consumer market. These typically involve a base product to which the customer can add variations. Project-based products, on the other hand, are unique to each customer from the ground up and have grown significantly now that the technology is able to support it.

Project-based products are largely targeted at the B2B customer. The types of industries that are project-based include those that manufacture equipment for wind turbines, aerospace and defense, and biotech, as well as contract pharmaceutical developers. These projects tend to be long-term and complex.

Overall equipment effectiveness

Monitoring the operational status of your equipment is the low-hanging fruit for increasing productivity. Low-cost tools are available to make this possible even on legacy equipment. We talk to Lauren Dunford, CEO of Guidewheel